And a bus it is!! We have had car issues all winter.....the Expedition is still doing great, but the truck (AKA The Black Beast) is not. It is a no-wheel-drive that has no business on the road anytime even resembling winter . And we haven't even discussed cosmetic issues - the poor guy has been through a lot and is missing all his teeth! See??
He is a great beater ranch truck, though, and unfortunatley, gets the best gas mileage of any vehicle we have. Brad has had to drive the Expedition while working this winter and so I have had to go out in the truck a number of times. I have been stuck twice and even had to call USAA to pull me out. I was not even a block away from home that time (if we had blocks out here by us). I was taking the neighbor's driveway because ours is way too steep and there was NO WAY I was getting up on account of the ice. I had visions of trying to drive up the driveway and sliding back down - backwards - into a big logging truck...not pretty. Even our neighbor's drive was too snowy for The Beast and about halfway up, he stopped going and the tires started spinning. I tried to go backward and landed my behind in a snow drift. The guy that came to pull me out had a good laugh at my predicament. HE would never have gotten in that situation ( I am pretty sure he's right - McGyver would never have ended up that way either) and he probably figured I was blond underneath all this dark hair. It's okay, I can laugh at myself...it didn't help that my then 14 year old son was laughing too.
And the Suburban has looked like this since the weather got bad. It needs a front end something-or-other and won't get that until the weather gets nice. Even then, the engine needs an overhaul. It will be a while until McGyver gets to that project.
So, as you can see, the situation was bleak....a wife that can't drive worth a darn in the snow, one non-working car and another that couldn't drive in the snow even if the wifey could. Brad has been sort of looking for a diesel truck so that we could haul a trailer of bison. However, a truck won't fit us all, so we would still have to drive two vehicles to CA when we deliver. Brad went in to talk to the diesel guy in town about engines/trucks, etc. The guy asked if we'd ever thought about a diesel Excursion. We had, but they are hard to come by and expensive. It just so happened that he was selling his personal vehicle that had been meticulously maintained. It has low mileage and the price was good. So, we are now the owners of one 2002, Ford diesel bison hauling Excursion with a 7.3L engine (somehow that was a good thing). The thing is indeed a bus and, compared to the Expedition, it has so much room we don't know what to do with ourselves....I am sure that real quickly, the kids will figure out how to drag everything they own into it when we go out. That is just their way.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
We celebrated Easter in what has become our tradition....a joyous Easter service at church and then the rest of the day at the Millers. We eat way too much great food, let the kids hunt for plastic Easter eggs filled with candy, eat more food, watch the kids bounce off the walls and then become comatose from the sugar, go to the park for some football/frisbee/whatever, come back and give everyone a snack and then drag ourselves home - tired and happy. It is a always a great day with great friends celebrating the joyous life we have in, and because of, Christ.
Saturday we went to the ranch to feed some hay to the bison and check on them. When Brad left last week, the fields were clear of snow (on the Eastern Front it snows and then blows away into drifts). There were still huge piles of snow then and he wasn't able to get into the driveway, but the fields and most of the drive (past the top drifts) were clear. Saturday when we arrived, we couldn't even get to the gate from the road - there was snow everywhere.....at least a foot covering everything. We had to hike in to the shop (about 3/4 mile??) to get the tractor out. It was a perfectly beautiful day and we were greeted by all the horses who were happy to have company.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
The above two paneled painting is hanging on our living room wall. Since I scared everyone with the bison head boiling post, I thought I ought to post something pleasant for all of you about bison and the ranch.
A dear friend of ours, Scott Paul, is a painter who is an artist. Among other things, he paints unique finishes in high end custom homes - last year, on a job, he painted the outlets and other wall "things" in a bedroom to match a custom birch bark wall (literally, a wall made out of birch bark). The switches matched so well that they couldn't find them.
Scott has been to the ranch numerous times to help "harvest" bison (a little happy terminology for our CA friends) and has also has gone out with Brad at times during the winter so that Brad didn't have to be out in the remote recesses of Montana all alone. Scott is from Montana and is a true outdoorsman - he is a fisherman, hunter, and bison-harvester extraordinaire. He loves the eastern front and appreciates the beauty of the ranch as much as we do. As a surprise gift to Brad this year, he painted the above. It is truly a treasure. I wish you could see the detail.
This is a photo that I just took on Saturday from the same view of the ranch as the painting (a little farther away). Scott had to tweak things a little to get them to fit, but isn't it beautiful? Truly, it is the most amazing gift. Not only did a dear friend paint it for us (and choose to give it to us instead of selling it for oodles of money!), but it is of our favorite view of our favorite place in the world. Of all the places to love, the ranch is MY favorite. Where else do enormous looming glaciers, tall stands of prairie grass and free roaming bison make all the difference?
Friday, April 1, 2011
A few weeks ago, around Josiah's b-day when I scanned the photos from his album to post, I also found some really cute ones of the kids when they were younger........oh, my, they were darling. They still are, of course, but there's nothing like having 4 little people under 5 to present you with total craziness and cuteness all balled up into one package. Micah hates the ones in which she is NOT - because she just WASN'T yet - she says it isn't fair and that we ought to get rid of all those. So, anyway, I had to post some of these....ah the memories. My parents will appreciate it and Kelly will breathe a sweet sigh of remembrance (remember how long we called Elias, Baby?). What I wouldn't give to do it all over again.
Look at the stinky crossing her eyes and sabatoging family photos....she was 4.
The first day of school - Josiah - 1st grade, Elisha - Kindergarten, Isaiah and Elias - along for the ride. Look how chubby Elias' little cheeks are!! That was before he decided that he only liked peanut butter, spaghetti, and meatballs.
The Long-haired Kings of France in the Middle Ages. I think they were more fierce-looking that this, and probably didn't have multi-colored hair.
One of my all-time, very favorites - and Micah IS in this one - she's just a few weeks undercooked. I am sure that she will not be consoled by that fact.
Hey, look, it's the Village People
OOHHHHH. If I had known that teenagers cause you such lack of sleep, I would have slept WAY more in college to make up for it. Why don't they just go to sleep? And why do they want to talk about everything under the sun at 11:30 pm?? Can't they do that at 7:30pm? Don't get me wrong - I WANT to talk about everything under the sun with my kids, but I mean, heck, we homeschool - we are here all day together....why is said kid not worried about how he wants to record the vocals on that song or what guitar he wants to use at 8:30? Just wondering why those things are not important until the "it's time for mom (and YOU!) to go to bed" time. Can't they remember that at 7 am, when I come down to drag them out of bed, they will be in a totally comatose condition because of this?? Doesn't he know that I am OLD now????